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Christopher Walrath

Moving furniture and old photography books.

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by , 05-16-2009 at 01:55 PM (1217 Views)
Well, today I met my brother at his mother-in-law's house to help him move some of her furniture out to sheds. She's getting her carpet redone. Well, it didn't take long and it wasn't hard work. But she insisted on paying us. She handed me $50 and I immediately said 'No!' I was more than happy to help. She said to take it or she'd beat me. I looked at Ron askance and he said she would fuss until I took it. I relented. 'This is for the last time (helped before), this time and the next time if I take it.' She begrudgingly agreed.

On the way home to Milton I thought I would go to the local antique store in town hoping to score a sweet old camera with my new found fortune. I had visions of Speed Graphics dancing in my head. (You wish) I browsed and all that my search turned up was a Kodak Instamatic (I have one), a Brownie movie camera and a Brownie Hawkeye that takes 620 film. I passed on all and kindly thanked the clerk, a college aged student who looked like he had more on the mind than merely tending to relics of ages past and some not so past. And on a classic beach Saturday. Poor kid. The only thing of intrest was a satchel with Alice clips that I could attach to my LC1 backpack with which I lug my 4x5 around. But I was not ready to part with the $25 necessary to carry it from the premises. I then proceeded to the bookseller up the street, stopping along the way to snap off a couple of shots of ivy growing on old brick in the historic area downtown.

Upon entering I am greeted, even though the proprietor and I are not on first name terms. He is on speaking terms with anybody who enters his domain and I suspect anyone who did not reciprocate immediately would be banished to the nether regions of the public library. I ask if he has any general photography books in the shop, older ones. He starts looking. He had just gotten a box of books in earlier in the week and low and behold there were five or six in it. I sit down to peruse the material and he busies himself somewhere else in the 300 sq-ft shop. Small shop, really tight and really full of books.

A couple of minutes later he returns and shoves another pile of literature in my face and proclaims 'You might want to check these out as well.' I graciously accept his gift. As I continue he asks if it would be alright if he stepped over to the ATM and then got some lunch from next door, he'd be back in about ten minutes. I had never been there during noonish hours and it struck me as nostalgic, this quizzened looking shop keeper of yore. A bookworm, no doubt, but not diminutive be any stretch of the imagination, a good two inches taller than myself. He puts me to mind of all accounts I have ever heard of Alfred Steiglitz, wild hair, glasses, singular mind and all. I say 'Sure, I'll tend shop for a few minutes for ya', partly in jest. He thanked me and out the door he went. I don't think he would mind, I snapped a shot of his shop with books on either side and his desk small and crammed back into the corner. I'll have to give him a print.

Upon his return I finished my selection. We had a brief discussion about e-books and missing the tangible relationship between leather and hand, ink and eye. He remarked in my use of a media that was rapidly becoming defunct. I told him that not only do I shoot black and white, but also large format, and process my own film and make my own prints. He seemed to admire that given his rustic nature and the haphazard condition of his shop; everything out of place and yet in its place in that microcosm of yesteryear, that little universe of history. Written as it should be, not projected.

Well, given the prices handwritten in pencil inside the covers I had about $30 worth of books and was hoping to haggle him down to $20 or so. He considers the stack of books I hand to him, proudly stating I would like to take these, and says 'I'll take $10 for the lot.' I gladly hand him the ten spot and he thanks me for his landlord's sake and bids me farewell as I pass through the door. I was mindful not to let the door shut too hard as I left.

I hope all of my Saturdays are this productive. A good way to end a good week. Back to work on Monday. Now to the readin'.


Here's what I got for ten bucks.

'Photography - Its Material and Process' by CB Neblette of the Rochester Institute of Photography - Printed 1952 5th Ed.

'Lenses In Photography' by Rudolf Kingslake - Printed 1963 / revised

'The Complete Book of Enlarging' by Morris Gurrie of the Chicago School of Photography - Printed in 1949 / 1st Ed

'Dictionary of Photography' by A. L. M. Sowerby - orig printed in England in 1943, reprinted in US in 1944

'Enlarging' by CI Jacobson and LA Mannheim - Printed in 1967 / 19th revision

'The Theory of the Photographic Process' by CE Kenneth Mees of Kodak research - first printing of 1954 revision

'Amphoto Black and White Processing Data Book' by John S. Carroll - printed in 1972 / 1st Ed

'Kodak Professional Black-and-White Films' by Kodak Eastman Co. - Printed in 1990


  1. ken472's Avatar
    Thats a pretty nice selection. I must admit I can hardly pass up buying a used photo related book. I must have over a hundred by now. I always seem to learn a little from each one.



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